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·         Oregon Approves New Plan For Gray Wolves

·         Environmental groups, Oregon governor rip new wolf plan



Oregon Approves New Plan For Gray Wolves


by Tony Schick, Oregon Public Broadcasting

June 8, 2019


Oregon fish and wildlife commissioners approved a new management plan Friday for gray wolves, a long-awaited document that sets protocols for potential hunts and new thresholds for when the agency may kill wolves after attacks on cattle and sheep.


The Fish and Wildlife Commission vote sets the course for how the state will handle a wolf population that has increased in both numbers and territory over the past decade. That’s excited animal advocates while leading to financial losses for ranchers, who have increasingly felt the need for lethal tactics to protect their livestock.


Oregon initially adopted a wolf plan in 2005. Now the state plan is poised to take on increased importance if the federal government completes its effort to remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the lower 48 states.


There are now at least 137 wolves in Oregon, according to biologists’ latest count, and they have populated the Wallowas in state’s northeastern corner, found a home in the forests of Mount Hood and roamed as far as the southern Oregon coast. That’s after a few wolves first wandered in a decade ago following recovery efforts in neighboring states.


“For someone like me, who has looked forward to seeing wolves living free on our landscape, it’s time to celebrate,” commissioner Holly Akenson told a crowded hearing room in Salem. Akenson, a wildlife biologist who has studied wolves, lives in Wallowa County, the heart of wolf territory.


There was little celebration in the nine-hour affair, however, as ranchers and environmentalists took turns giving impassioned testimony and commissioners attempted rewriting key portions of the plan on the fly.


At one point, commissioner Mary Wahl expressed concerns that they were moving too quickly on complex changes to wolf policy, particularly involving issues of controlled wolf hunts.


“I’m not sure at the end of the day I’ll be able to explain what we just did,” she cautioned fellow commissioners...


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Environmental groups, Oregon governor rip new wolf plan


By Kale Williams, The Oregonian

via The Bulletin - June 8, 2019


On Friday, the commissioners for Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife voted to adopt the latest iteration of the state’s wolf plan. Within hours, numerous environmental groups issued statements rebuking the plan.


And so did Gov. Kate Brown, who oversees the commission.


“Governor Brown was clear in her expectations to the agency and the commission: ODFW has a conservation-focused mission,” Kate Kondayen, a spokeswoman for the governor, wrote in an email. “Efforts in the wolf plan to evaluate depredations and prevent them fail to meet the Governor’s expectations for ensuring the health of the wolf population while also meeting the needs of the ranching community.”


Friday’s vote on the plan was the product of years of tense negotiations. One one side, ranchers, hunters and farmers, who argued for looser regulations on when wolves can be killed for attacking livestock. On the other, wolf advocates and environmentalists, who railed against the plan at Friday’s commission meeting, arguing it failed to take a science-based approach to wolf attacks on cattle and sheep.


During hours of frequently-combative testimony, members of the ranching community testified in favor of the plan, though they often told the seven-member commission they weren’t happy with parts of it.


Environmental groups, conversely, pushed the commission to reconsider or completely scrap some of the plan’s more controversial provisions.


Under the old plan, a wolf that attacked livestock twice or more over any period of time was deemed a “chronic depredator” and could be killed in the eastern third of the state, where wolves are managed by the state. The new plan will allow the state to kill wolves after two confirmed attacks during a nine-month period.


Killing wolves will not always be done by state officials, though. The plan allows for...